Thai Red Curry Paste (Vegetarian)

Thai Red Curry Paste

We are no experts in Thai cooking, but we like to think we do know a thing or two. Curry paste is something that we absolutely love and created our own version of the red curry paste. Of course we referred to a few basic recipes and made our own thing with ingredients we had at home (and without the shrimp paste). Will you judge us if we tell you we used  a Mexican chilli in a Thai curry paste? Please do, by all means! We will still call it Thai red curry paste ‘coz that’s just how we roll. 🙂

Thai Red Curry Paste

So, a few weeks ago, we were at the farmer’s market here and managed to get some fresh galangal and frozen kaffir lime leaves. We’ve been trying to get our hands on these for a very long time and finally got them at a Vietnamese food store at the farmer’s market (this truly an international recipe!!). We were super duper excited!

It’s just so easy to keep a jar of a spicy curry paste in the refrigerator especially for those nights when you completely forget to plan something for dinner.  You could use it in soups, curries, rice, as a marinade and just about anything you like.

This recipe couldn’t get easier- soak the dried chillies in warm water to soften them up, then grind all of the ingredients into a paste using a blender and voilà- red curry paste is ready to use! Oh and did I mention it’s vegetarian? With those flavors from the galangal, ginger & kaffir lime leaves- you won’t even miss the shrimp!

Thai Red Curry Paste

Here is how we made our version of Thai red curry paste:

Thai Red Curry Paste

Yield: 1 small jar


  • 2 dried guajillo chillies
  • 2 dried Thai chillies
  • ¼ of a small onion
  • 1 inch piece fresh galangal
  • 5-6 garlic cloves
  • ½ inch piece ginger
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly roasted
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly roasted
  • a small handful fresh coriander stems/ leaves
  • 1 Thai green chili
  • 5-7 kaffir lime leaves
  • Zest of one lime
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Soak the dried chilies in about ¼ cup warm water for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place all the other ingredients in your blender.
  3. Once your chilies are done soaking, drain the water in a separate container and put the chilies in the blender.
  4. Grind the ingredients into a paste. Add a few tablespoons of the chili water to help it grind into one smooth paste.
  5. Voila- red curry paste is ready to use.


1. We used the seeds from the chilies, but if you don’t like it too hot, feel free to discard the seeds from the chilies before soaking them in water.

2. You could use the remaining water from soaking the chilies in your curries. Just store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator and use within 2-3 days.

3. Do add an inch lemongrass if you have it on hand. Also, if you get your hands on Kaffir Limes- replace them with the regular lime used in the recipe.

Thai Red Curry Paste

Thai Red Curry Paste


  1. How long do you think this will keep in the refrigerator? I would like to make this ahead of time when some guests are coming.

  2. Pingback: Thai Shrimp Curry with Sweet Potatoes | ngan made it

  3. This is such an awesome blend of spices! Wish I could find these original ingredients too. Mouthwatering. 🙂

  4. This red curry paste looks awesome Aditi..Will have to try this…

  5. This red curry paste looks awesome Aditi…..Will have to give it a try…

  6. The paste looks perfect 🙂 I usually buy ready made, due tolack of half the ingredients which wont be available near my place.

  7. Your Mexi-Thai curry paste looks delicious! I don’t care what kind of chilies you use! 😀

  8. Oh my, this is love at first sight for me. I really enjoy curries, but often find the store bought kind (Lee Kum Kee, Thai Kitchen, etc.) to be kind of disappointing. Mostly, I hate that I never know how long it’s been sitting on the shelf, growing staler by the day. I will make this curry paste myself next time I want to make Thai at home! And I won’t judge you for using Mexican chilies in Thai curry paste. 🙂

  9. Wow love Thai food. Have Penang curry in draft have used store brought will definately tag your homemade paste recipe

  10. The paste sounds incredible and would add incredible flavor to anything you put it in. The ingredient list is things that are easily accessible also, very nice.

  11. I adore Thai curry pastes and use them a lot! You guys have made it look really easy and I know that since you made it, it must be over-the-top delicious! I am going to try making it too! Yummmmm! 😀

  12. I love making Thai curry pastes from scratch too! You know exactly what goes into it and can play around with it and make it your own and the flavors are much better of course! This paste looks amazing!

  13. Was looking for veg thai curry paste and here it is. …awesome …..on My list….Thank you…

    • SO glad you liked it, Chitra. DO tell us if you try it. We do like some things made from scratch and with curry paste you can tweak the ingredients to get what works for you best. Although I must say- kaffir lime leaves & galangal add a wonderful dimension to this recipe!

  14. This paste looks so good a flavorful!

  15. Yum! This Curry Paste looks just fantastic!! I love to cook Thai food, but usually buy the curry paste ready made because I always thought it’s kind of a lot of work. But your recipe is great! It takes a couple of ingredients though, but the preparation should be ok!! Gorgeous photos as always! Love it!

  16. You guys have nailed it. I am bookmarking Thai pots for my future reference. :).

  17. Hmm.. that looks really good, guys! How fresh and looks like it is easy to make. We buy our curry paste from the store and this is a wonderful alternative. The last shot is fantastic.

  18. Hi Aditi
    This looks fabulous! Wow I love red curry paste and I buy it from the Asian grocers. Now would like to try your recipe and make my own! thanks! 🙂

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